Update: About 30 minutes after this story's posting, UW Athletic Communications announced that Ian Markolf has withdrawn from the UW men's basketball team. The story has since been updated.
With the 2009-10 college basketball season coming to a close last night in Indianapolis, it's time to look forward to next season, when the UW men's basketball team will make a dramatic switch from a guard-reliant team to a heavy front-court team. Here's a way too early look at your 2010-11 Wisconsin Badgers:
G - Jordan Taylor (Jr.) - No player blossomed more this season than Taylor, who went from a reliable sixth-man to one of the best point guards in the country. Taylor finished the year with a 3.03 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranked third in the nation. He also happens to be UW's best returning defender. With Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon out of the picture, Taylor will not only have to handle the ball and guard the opposing team's best guard, but he will also have to step up his scoring. Already a great finisher, he will need to improve his three-point shooting because UW loses 58 percent of its three-point production.
G - Rob Wilson (Jr.) -This is Wilson's time to shine. Stuck behind three great guards for two seasons, Wilson showed flashes of brillance during his sophomore campaign, despite only playing 12 minutes per game. He proved he can be a three-point weapon, which will be crucial for the Badgers next season. He can also drive and create his own shot. If he puts in the hard work in the offseason, there's no reason why Wilson can't contribute 10-12 points per game, if not more.
F - Tim Jarmusz (Sr.) -Just like last season, this is really the only position where there is any doubt about who will be starting. It wouldn't be inconceivable to see either Ryan Evans or Mike Bruesewitz pass Jarmusz on the depth chart because both figure to be larger contributors during their career, but both of them are still sophomores and Jarmusz started 27 games as a junior. Either way, Jarmusz has to improve his shooting because the Badgers will desperately need contributions from behind the arc.
F - Jon Leuer (Sr.) -A healthy Jon Leuer is a scary sight for the opposition. His play definitely translates to the NBA and former ESPN analyst and current St. John's head coach Steve Lavin called him a lottery pick late this season. The only defense for Leuer in his junior campaign was a wrist injury that cost him nine games. He still led UW in scoring with 15.4 points per game and the number figures to rise somewhere near 20 points per game next year. He should get some preseason All-American consideration.
F- Keaton Nankivil (Sr.) -Nankivil averaged 8.1 points per game while starting all 33 games this season. Still, his post work was somewhat disappointing as he turned into a 15-foot jump shooter. An offseason of post work would really help Wisconsin as it figures to be a post-heavy team next year. We've seen some nice moves from Nankivil in the past, but he seems content shooting from the outside. That must change.
F - Ryan Evans (R-So.) -Evans played a crucial role this season as he averaged 3.5 points per game in 13 minutes off the bench. He served as a spark plug as is evident by his 3.0 rebounds per game average with such little time on the court. He worked really hard on his short jumper during the season and he shot a respectable 44 percent from the field. You could tell Bo Ryan had him harnessed a little. He wasn't out there to score, but he does have scoring ability. Expect him to look for his shot more next season. His defensive work on Duke's Kyle Singler will never be forgotten.
F - Mike Bruesewitz (So.) -Someone could still make an argument that Bruiser should have redshirted his freshman season as he only averaged 1.1 points per game in seven minutes per game. But get this stat: Bruesewitz pulled down a ridiculous 31 offensive rebounds this season, which trailed only Keaton Nankivil, Jon Leuer and Trevon Hughes on the entire team. Bruiser can get to the hoop but needs to finish better. His outside shot will also make a consistent appearance next year.
F/C - Jared Berggren (R-So.) -Theoretically Wisconsin could get by with the Iceberg only playing four minutes per game again, but this figures to be a much bigger team next season and once Leuer and Nankivil leave, Berggren figures to start. He has good post moves and he can even shoot from outside, but he's not getting playing time because his footwork is still slow and he struggles on defense. Some hard work in the offseason would really boost Berggren's contribution next year.
G - Wquinton Smith (Sr.) -Yes, this is how far down the rotation we have to go to find a backup guard that is not an incoming freshman. Smith will be a senior walk-on and if incoming freshman Josh Gasser can't contribute like Taylor did his freshman year, then Smith will likely be the backup point guard. He won't score a lot off the bench, but Smith has always been a great ballhandler and he is shifty enough to get to the basket and create open looks for his teammates.
G - Josh Gasser (Fr.) - No incoming freshman will be needed more than Gasser, who was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Wisconsin after averaging 23.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. As long as he can play defense at a high level (2.7 steals per game this season), Gasser figures to contribute as UW's backup point guard immediately.
C - Evan Anderson (Fr.) - Once a five-star recruit that ranked among the top two or three centers in the country, Anderson's stock fell a little bit during his final two seasons at Eau Claire North. Still, he figures to be UW's center of the future, although his playing time as a freshman will likely be limited by a crowded front court.
G/F - Duje Dukan (Fr.) - Dukan is known as a great outside shooter, but at 6-8, he also has some great post moves with a smooth touch around the basketball. Some think he can play shooting guard, but he appears to be better suited at small forward. Still, his versatility fits him well in Ryan's swing offense. His defense still needs work and he can be too emotional at times. That might hold him back from playing a whole lot as a freshman.
One more? - With Markolf's departure from the program, Bo Ryan now has one more scholarship.
C - J.P. Gavinski (R-Sr.) - Well, this is it. The grand finale for Bo Ryan's most disappointing recruit at Wisconsin. Will he finally become a big time contributor? Probably not. The Badgers already have a deep front court so Gavinski's contributions aren't really needed.
G- Brett Valentyn (R-Sr.) - Wisconsin's roster is set up to have 16 players. It's possible Valentyn won't return for a fifth year as a walk-on, but for now, he appears set to do so.
G - Dan Fahey (So.) - The Chicago product will return for his second year as a walk-on and scout team contributor.
G - J.D. Wise (So.) - The Milwaukee product played in one game last season.